Forget fashion — Let’s talk about style

You may not like fashion but I’ll convince you to like style…

Let me be clear. I like to make a distinction between fashion and style because to me, fashion refers to a business and an industry that seems foreign. Unattainable and superficial, even. I am sure that many of you have said or heard people say that they didn’t care or like fashion. I get it. Fashion is what you see in magazines. It is the beautiful branded clothes that are there to inspire you to consume and to tell you what the next trends will be.

Style, on the other hand, is the interpretation of fashion. It is how you pull yourself together on a daily basis. It is what you feel comfortable in. It is how you express yourself on a daily basis and how people interpret who you are. Style embodies a lot more than just the clothes you put on your body, it is also the way you carry and present yourself. It is through style that anyone around you can get a sense of who you are. The best part about style is that anyone can have it — men and women, old and young, big or small. What it all comes down to is confidence.

That is why I prefer calling this concept of putting clothes on our body and trying to make it look good to make a statement on who we are, personal style. The phrase “personal style” seems approachable and attainable for the simple fact that it is personal. It is a personal and physical interpretation of who you are and it can be catalyst of change and confidence for anyone. It sure has been for me.

I have been thinking a lot about this concept recently and have had discussions about it with a blogger friend of mine, Flic Taylor of Love a Good Stripe. After a few glasses of wine we got to talking about how personal style is all about bringing life and personality to how you present yourself and as a Brit in Ottawa, Flic noticed, just like I have, that Ottawa seems to be afraid of expressing personality and life in the way people dress. We all know that Ottawa isn’t the fashion destination of Canada and/or the world but what’s to say that Ottawans can’t rock their own personal style to add a bit of personality to its streets?

The power of personal style is unbelievable. Although it can be frightening to express yourself in such a public way, through the clothes you wear and the way you carry yourself, it can be the most liberating and freeing thing you can invest in.

Here’s a test. Think about the most stylish person you know. What is it that they have that makes them so stylish? Does he or she have the trendiest clothes seen in magazines? I am prepared to bet that the answer is no. I am ready to say that they must rock everything they where, however. They must wear things that you might have picked up in the store and told yourself that it wouldn’t look good on you without even giving yourself the opportunity to try it on before making that judgement. They must walk in a room and think that they look great. They must be continuously taking a few risks in the way they dress.

They must dress with intention and thoughtfulness.

Think about it, when you see Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, although sometimes alienating and out of control, her outfits were thoughtful. Every piece she wore had a purpose and everything she wore was worn with confidence.

When you think of all the style icons you may have, from Audrey Hepburn to Johnny Depp, Amal Clooney to Ryan Gosling, Carrie Bradshaw to Drake, the one thing they have in common that anyone can have is a personal take on fashion and most importantly, confidence. Not only do we admire these celebrities for the clothing they wear and how they wear it but we admire them because they have a point of view. When you go shopping, you can clearly see pieces that Carrie would wear…that’s what personal style is. It isn’t bound to a certain timeline outlined by fashion magazines. Carrie’s style legacy lives on and so does Audrey Hepburn’s and Grace Kelly’s. It’s sexy to have a point of view. It shows confidence and risk taking…what’s sexier than that?

Although the word fashion may not seem to be approachable or attainable or may not even be of interest to you, style is a whole different ball game. Style is a point of view and an interpretation of who you are. It is subjective and that’s what’s so exciting about it. It is a tool to use to find the confidence you have within yourself and, trust me, it can be fun! Personal style is not about fitting in the mould of what is trendy, it is about expressing who you are, however classic, funky, rock n’ roll, bright, dark or demure you are. Personal style is about showing who you are with confidence. Personal style is sexy, it’s trendy…it’s the new hip.

So, are you convinced?

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